During tough economy, Tyson plans to expand Iowa plant

5:24 PM, Feb 5, 2009   |    comments
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CHEROKEE, Iowa -- In the midst of massive layoffs and plant closures, Tyson Foods has decided to expand its deli plant in Cherokee, Iowa. The project would boost production by 25 percent.

The plant produces about 55 million pounds of hot dogs, Canadian bacon and deli meat each year. After the expansion, the company is expected to make another 20 million pounds of product.

Jerry Menke, General Manager of Tyson Deli, says, "The goal is to be more competitive which will allow for greater profitability."

The company will spend $5 million to add more slicing lines in a large area of the building that's not currently being used. That's on top of a $12 million project that started more than three years ago, which made room for six new smokehouses and chillers.

While the renovations are expected to be finished this summer, Menke says there are still a few things that need to be worked out.

One of them is the number of employees they'll need to help fill the demand. "It's not just only important that we're going to hire some more people, or we think we're going to hire more people, it's the security of the jobs of the people that are working here," says Menke. "If we don't do that. If we don't stay on top of it, we'll be in the same condition as a lot of other businesses: be forced to have layoffs or reductions in the labor force."



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